Swords

by Sasjah Miller

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There are times when a man's life balances on the edge of a sword. There are times when a man has to make the choice, whether he will stand and fight or run and die anyway.

Jack prefers to stay away from such edgy choices; he likes to be on the safe side of the cutlass, he rather not feel the steel zing right past him into a door he had planned to walk out of after a not unpleasant repartee with the pesky swordsmith.

He doesn't have a choice right now, though, as the hatch opens and he falls through it, the noose around his neck a lethal caress. He really doesn't have a choice; all by themselves his feet search for something to stand on, an edge, something, anything, so he won't end up swinging at the entrance of Port Royal's harbour, grinning mirthlessly about his fate for eternity or as long as the seagulls will leave him alone.

He has no choice, but the choice is made for him as his feet land on the impossibly small blade of a sword that's being thrown towards him at the last moment. Of course, Jack prefers that the sword would have cut his noose, but he doesn't have much say in the matter now, does he, so he settles for trying to keep his balance on the edge of the sword, Will's sword, he's sure of that, and valiantly he tries to keep from falling off. Because he really doesn't want to die. Not just yet anyway. He already knows what it feels like to be a skeleton, long white bones with the skin all gone, and it's not an experience he cares to relive. Not anytime soon if he can help it.

And then his head is suddenly free because the rope is cut and he falls on the sandy bottom that reeks of piss and mortal fear and his reflexes once again take over, even if the land is holding still and not moving, throwing off his balance just the teensiest bit. He rolls away in one smooth movement, his bound hands close to his chest. Jack meets up with Will, the master sword smith, who has captured him, and then freed him with the same gesture just a few days before.

He grins at him, pirate's blood recognizing pirate's blood and the wild surge of exhilaration is rushing through him again as he holds out his hands and Will cuts his bonds. And then Will throws him another fine example of his handiwork which he catches with practiced ease. He feels Will's warmth close to him, even if it's a terribly hot day in Port Royal and the mixture of death and love, lust for life, for Will, is bringing a terrible smile to his face as his sword weaves its way in a deadly complement to Will's. They slash their way through the crowd of soldiers to a broad column where they take their final stand (it was a doomed plan from the start, but he has to admire Will for trying) and for a brief moment their eyes meet. And Jack sees himself reflected in those hazel brown eyes, as dark and mysterious as his own and then they are forced to throw their weapons down, surrounded by a bunch of men who'd very much want to see him dead and possibly Will as well.

And then the wench, with even more gusto and bravura than he credited her for (after all it's not her /own/ life she's fighting for right now) steps in. He hesitates only for a short moment, because he feels Will hesitate for only a short moment, but apparently it is not to be. And he chooses again, chooses to stay away from the edgy choices between trying to discover if there's more between them than pirate's blood recognizing kin and only a few minutes later he is diving into the deep blue ocean, towards the Pearl, who is calling to him from the entrance of Port Royal.

The End

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